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Old 05.10.2015, 09:10
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Need legal help for unpaid salary

Hi all,

New to the forum and looking for advice.

I don't live in Switzerland, but I worked for a Swiss company in Zug. To cut a long story short, this company ended up owing me a significant amount of money in unpaid salary. In order to get something -- anything -- out of this mess, I negotiated a settlement that worked out to roughly 20% of what I was owed, paid in three tranches. The first payment was made. The second payment has NOT been paid and is overdue.

My settlement agreement with this company stipulated that if payment isn't made, I can go after them for the full amount (much good it'll do me, since they're likely insolvent).

My question is this: what are my options (beyond retaining a Swiss law firm, which likely would be very expensive)? Are there labour tribunals or any other mechanisms that I can use to pursue my claim?

Thanks in advance for your help. This has been an absolute nightmare...
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Old 05.10.2015, 09:28
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

As a contractor you could file a Betreibung (debt enforcement) against the company for the unpaid amount. It can be done on-line and, if the company is a legal entity, it should be filed in the community where it is based in Canton Zug:

https://www.ch.ch/en/debt-enforcement-request/
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Old 05.10.2015, 10:12
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

Thanks Mullhollander. Much appreciated
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Old 05.10.2015, 12:26
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

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Hi all,

New to the forum and looking for advice.

I don't live in Switzerland, but I worked for a Swiss company in Zug. To cut a long story short, this company ended up owing me a significant amount of money in unpaid salary. In order to get something -- anything -- out of this mess, I negotiated a settlement that worked out to roughly 20% of what I was owed, paid in three tranches. The first payment was made. The second payment has NOT been paid and is overdue.

My settlement agreement with this company stipulated that if payment isn't made, I can go after them for the full amount (much good it'll do me, since they're likely insolvent).

My question is this: what are my options (beyond retaining a Swiss law firm, which likely would be very expensive)? Are there labour tribunals or any other mechanisms that I can use to pursue my claim?

Thanks in advance for your help. This has been an absolute nightmare...
If you did this legally you are an employee & 3 months salary is insured which you will get regardless.

If you tried to avoid paying tax & social costs in Switzerland, then the chance of recovery is rather less.
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Old 05.10.2015, 13:17
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

If you had a proper work contract, with social security contributions etc. you must go to the Arbeitsgericht Zug

http://www.zg.ch/behoerden/zivil-und...e-arbeitsrecht

As Mr. Fatmanfilms says, in case of bankruptcy the State (Unemployment insurance) takes over the last four months but no more than CHF 346 per day.
https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...index.html#a51
and
https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...index.html#a22


If you were only an external consultant/contractor you have to go the way of Betreibung/Pursuit.

In case of bankruptcy you would be in the (AFAIK) 3rd tier debtor class.

0 tier anything secured by a collateral/
1st tier are normal salaries (Last 6 moths up to CHF 126k ).
2nd tier are social contributions.
3rd tier are all the rest.


https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...002/index.html
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Old 05.10.2015, 13:41
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

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If you did this legally you are an employee & 3 months salary is insured which you will get regardless.

If you tried to avoid paying tax & social costs in Switzerland, then the chance of recovery is rather less.
Just to clarify, I was never based in Switzerland. My agreement was as a contractor. As such, I doubt the insurance would apply here.

I understand where I stand as a creditor if the company goes bust. Worst case this does push my ex employer into bankruptcy and I get nothing -- which is pretty much what I've got now. But at least it might prevent my ex-employer from hurting anyone else.
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Old 05.10.2015, 14:04
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

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Just to clarify, I was never based in Switzerland. My agreement was as a contractor. As such, I doubt the insurance would apply here.

I understand where I stand as a creditor if the company goes bust. Worst case this does push my ex employer into bankruptcy and I get nothing -- which is pretty much what I've got now. But at least it might prevent my ex-employer from hurting anyone else.
Did you do more than 8 days work in Switzerland? If you did you should have been registered (unto 90 days a year). More than 90 days work in CH requires a work or residents permit.

Where your based is irrelevant, Switzerland has many cross border workers, it's where the work took place that counts.
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Old 05.10.2015, 14:04
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

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Just to clarify, I was never based in Switzerland. My agreement was as a contractor. As such, I doubt the insurance would apply here.

I understand where I stand as a creditor if the company goes bust. Worst case this does push my ex employer into bankruptcy and I get nothing -- which is pretty much what I've got now. But at least it might prevent my ex-employer from hurting anyone else.
so is it rather unsecured debt rather than outstanding salary?
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Old 05.10.2015, 14:54
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

Basically it was a full-time job, but since I wasn't based in Switzerland and the company had no presence overseas, I was on a contractor agreement where I was paid monthly for services rendered.

To your point, this would probably make it unsecured debt. I looks like I need to go down the Betreibung route.
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Old 05.10.2015, 14:59
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

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Basically it was a full-time job, but since I wasn't based in Switzerland and the company had no presence overseas, I was on a contractor agreement where I was paid monthly for services rendered.

To your point, this would probably make it unsecured debt. I looks like I need to go down the Betreibung route.
Were you directly employed by the company?
OR
Were you employed by another company which provided services to the Swiss company?

Based on what you have said it is the latter - but you will need to make sure this is the case - if so, then yes, unsecured debt and betreibung them. However that doesn't mean they'll pay, they may contest it and you may then need a lawyer in order to take the whole thing through the courts for it to be enforced.
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Old 05.10.2015, 15:10
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

@dodgyken - It was a contract signed on a personal basis directly with the company. They may very well contest, but the separation agreements relating to the outstanding payments are pretty watertight, so hopefully it would be pretty clear cut.

@fatmanfims - no, the number of days I was working in Switzerland was under 8 days -- about 1 week in a year.
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Old 05.10.2015, 15:24
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

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@dodgyken - It was a contract signed on a personal basis directly with the company. They may very well contest, but the separation agreements relating to the outstanding payments are pretty watertight, so hopefully it would be pretty clear cut.
Now it sounds like you were an employee.

Did you invoice for services? Who paid mandatory EMPLOYER deductions? And where?
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Old 05.10.2015, 15:39
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

Sorry for the confusion. The difference between 'independent contractor' and 'employee' can be a fine one in legal terms...and this I think is partly the problem.

Either way, I can confirm that I was an independent contractor. I was not entitled to benefits and was responsible for paying all taxes in my place of domicile. There were no employer deductions made on my behalf.
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Old 05.10.2015, 15:45
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

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Sorry for the confusion. The difference between 'independent contractor' and 'employee' can be a fine one in legal terms...and this I think is partly the problem.

Either way, I can confirm that I was an independent contractor. I was not entitled to benefits and was responsible for paying all taxes in my place of domicile. There were no employer deductions made on my behalf.
So basically fiddling taxes & national insurance contributions.

The Swiss take a very dim view & do not allow 'contractors', they have to be employees.
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Old 05.10.2015, 15:52
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

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There were no employer deductions made on my behalf.
So on the fiddle and now the client is paying.

I think I'll just head into the corner and ROFLMAO
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Old 05.10.2015, 15:59
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

Guys, I live in Asia, was paid in Asia, and my job did not cover Switzerland. I spent no more than a week -- if that -- in Switzerland in any one year. Why the hell should I be making employee contributions in Switzerland?

Are you saying in such a circumstance that my ex-employer should've been making employee and national insurance contributions on my behalf?
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Old 05.10.2015, 16:08
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

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Guys, I live in Asia, was paid in Asia, and my job did not cover Switzerland. I spent no more than a week -- if that -- in Switzerland in any one year. Why the hell should I be making employee contributions in Switzerland?



Are you saying in such a circumstance that my ex-employer should've been making employee and national insurance contributions on my behalf?

Your location is stated as UK, clearly you can't be trusted to sit on the toilet the right way round.
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Old 05.10.2015, 16:11
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

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Guys, I live in Asia, was paid in Asia, and my job did not cover Switzerland. I spent no more than a week -- if that -- in Switzerland in any one year. Why the hell should I be making employee contributions in Switzerland?

Are you saying in such a circumstance that my ex-employer should've been making employee and national insurance contributions on my behalf?
1) Why did you put your location in as UK then?
2) Asia isn't a country
3) What deductions do Employers have to make in your country?

People are willing to help on here but there needs to be clarity on the contract you signed and where that leaves you.

You may also have to decide how far you want to push this. If you can issue a betreibung it is cheap - but if they still don't pay and you wish to enforce it upfront legal fees + court deposit will easily amount to 5k chf - which you may not get back even if you do win.
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Old 05.10.2015, 16:14
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

Feel free to say hello the next time you're in HK. I also happen to have a place in the UK. Is it that hard to imagine that I might be from the UK and living in Asia?

I've no axe to grind with anyone. I'm not trying to 'fiddle' with anything. I'm just trying to figure out what my options are given that I've been stiffed for a lot of money. I'm sorry if I've given you the wrong impression.
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Old 05.10.2015, 16:20
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Re: Need legal help for unpaid salary

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Feel free to say hello the next time you're in HK. I also happen to have a place in the UK. Is it that hard to imagine that I might be from the UK and living in Asia?

I've no axe to grind with anyone. I'm not trying to 'fiddle' with anything. I'm just trying to figure out what my options are given that I've been stiffed for a lot of money. I'm sorry if I've given you the wrong impression.
I guess the bottom line is: What does your contract say?

I used to live in Asia, have a contract with an Asian company and I know full well if I can use Swiss or Singaporean law for my contract when things to wrong... cause it is written in there. (?)

What does yours say:
- Switzerland: do the Betreibung.
- HK: Probably the labour tribunal?
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